The Government has today announced further measures as a result of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met last night to discuss the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in Ireland.

Under the new measures, the Government have said that:

  • Social visits to other peoples homes have been restricted to a maximum of 6 people, from no more than 3 different households both indoors and outdoors.
  • Outdoor mass gatherings have been restricted to no more than 15 people.
  • Over 70s/Older People/Vulnerable Groups will be asked to exercise their individual judgement, avoid public transport, limit interactions to a small network of people for short periods, and to shop during designated hours.
  • All businesses should remote work where possible.
  • Sporting events to be played ‘behind closed doors.’ No spectators to be allowed at sporting events.
  • Mandatory closing times for Cafes and Restaurants of 11.30pm.
  • Masks should be worn when sharing a vehicle with people from different households.

The measures will remain in place until at least the 13th September 2020.

The full NPHET advice to Government in relation to public health measures:

Full Statement by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD,

Post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Government Buildings,

18 August 2020

Six months ago, Ireland, Europe and the rest the world was confronted by a rapidly moving and unprecedented threat.

It was a moment of uncertainty and fear.

In country after country, most social and economic life came to a sudden halt.

People accepted controls on their personal freedoms which would be unthinkable in normal times.

And the Irish people came together in a shared national effort.

We brought the virus under control by staying at home, keeping our distance from each other and protecting the vulnerable.

In our hospitals, staff worked every hour of the day to limit the loss of life.

Other frontline workers made sure that food supplies and essential services were there for us all.

And as a result of this a series of steps could be implemented to gradually reopen parts of our society and economy.

The harsh reality is that recent trends in the spread of the virus are very serious.

We are not close to the level and pace of the spread of the virus earlier this year, but we are at a point where we need to recommit ourselves to key behaviours and to accept additional controls.

Today, the Government met to discuss what the public health experts have described as multiple significant outbreaks associated with workplaces, households, and social activities.

This is not just about the appalling behaviour we saw in one Dublin bar at the weekend.

The evidence is that a large number of people are acting as if the virus is no threat to them, or that it’s OK to take a few more risks.

And many people seem to believe that if they or those they are socialising with have no symptoms there’s no problem.

The fact is that a person can spread the virus without ever showing any symptoms.

You may be young and healthy – but your choices impact on everyone you come into contact with.

In our families, amongst our friends and our communities, every one of us has a responsibility to protect the health and lives of others.

Yes, we have been successful in keeping the number of deaths low – but if the current increase continues it will be impossible to stop the spread of the virus to our most vulnerable and most compromised.

And the virus is as deadly today as it was before.

Until there is a vaccine we have to keep our guard up.

We have to suppress the virus in order to progress.

That is why we have agreed to introduce a number of changes in current guidance and regulations following advice from NPHET.

We are significantly tightening key restrictions for the next three and a half weeks to September 13th.

Because the spread of the virus is increasing across a wide range of settings these restrictions will impact on most of us.

It is advised that:

  • All businesses should continue to facilitate remote working where possible.
  • All visits to homes will be limited to 6 people from outside the home and from no more than three households both indoors and outdoors.
  • Other gatherings will be limited to 15 people.
  • Restaurants and cafes, including pubs operating as restaurants, can remain open but with mandatory restrictions on closing times of 1130 pm.
  • Sport events and matches will revert to “behind closed doors” with strict avoidance of social gatherings before and after events.
  • Indoor and outdoor training should follow the 6 indoor and 15 outdoor guidance.
  • Public transport should be avoided where possible.
  • In the context of private transport, the wearing of face masks is advised where households are mixed.
  • All state bodies with responsibility for monitoring, inspection and compliance will intensify activities on an integrated basis.
  • Fresh advice will be issued to people over 70 or who are medically vulnerable to limit their interactions to a very small network for short periods, to avoid public transport where possible and to shop during designated hours.

The government agreed today to finalise and publish a Roadmap for Resilience & Recovery before September 13th.

This will map how we balance public health, economic and social aspects of living with Covid-19 in the short to medium term ensuing that our society and economy remains open while suppressing the spread of the virus.

Throughout Europe and the wider world people are seeing that Covid-19 will not simply disappear.

We are absolutely not at a stage where we can return to normality. Individually and together we have to act as if the virus is present wherever we are and to act accordingly.

We are at another critical moment.

If we want to limit the number of people who get seriously ill or die because of the virus we need to follow these guidelines.

And for those who are asking if the controls are really worth it – or if we are somehow overreacting – I ask you to remember something.

2,332 people have lost their lives on this island.

Many thousands more were seriously ill and saved by incredible professionals working under immense strain.

We can’t go back. If we falter now, every sacrifice we have made to date will be for nought. We have to accept that we have to recommit ourselves to accepting the reality of the continued threat of the virus.

Now, as much as ever before, we must remember our responsibilities to each other.

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